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Art Magic at Geographe Primary School

Posted by Hiromi Tango

On Monday 28th October, local artist Lorraine Burke and I visited Geographe Primary School, and worked with 65 students to create Blue Art Magic, work which will sing and dance in their unique suitcase! Their wonderful art teacher Ana Nail came to the ArtGeo the week prior, and collected Art Magic materials: shiny blue fabric, colour balls, bells, a suitcase and shipping tags. She asked students to bring fabric and second-hand clothing that represents them.

Yr 4 students with Hiromi TangoYr 4 students with Hiromi Tango

Before our arrival, the Little Artists (students) made the initial artworks on the shipping tag, where they recorded things they cared about through writing, drawing and decoration. The brief was to think about the colour blue, which represents well-being and sharing stories. Many students thought of ocean and sky when they thought of the colour blue. 

During the 50-minute art classes, we asked students to choose colourful soft balls that represented how they felt at the time, which were then wrapped with assorted blue, white and silver shiny fabrics. They then attached bells and tags as per their preference. Once this was completed, we each held our works, and danced, gently weaving around the suitcase that was placed in the centre of the room. We had a wonderful time, and I was very impressed with the high quality of artworks made by our Little Artists during the art class. Special thanks goes to Geograhe Primary School artists and teachers. We look forward to seeing your final suitcase which will be returned to ArtGeo on the 11th November. 

Art Magic is for everyone – not only for children. It is a gentle way to be connected with your inner self through arts engagement.

Part of Art Magic for me the way that having to slow things down allows us to get in touch with our emotions. Simple questions – such as “How am I feeling now?" or "What do I need right now? A shower, a cup of tea, a walk, seeing friends, or reading a book?” – are not easy to answer if you are too busy with work, study or taking care of family members. Simple acts such as writing something down in a journal or as a note, or taking the time and care to place something precious to us in a safe place, are important to our wellbeing. 

As we work with materials such as suitcases, stories or objects that hold some significance to us, it is an opportunity to slow down and figure out what they all mean. Processes such as sorting, wrapping or incorporating something into a larger whole can feel quite therapeutic. It is my hope that through working with our hands together, sharing stories and finding productive ways to deal with those things we have never had a chance to unpack in our busy lives, we can all support each other in achieving a greater state of joyfulness and wellbeing.

Earlier this year I had some correspondence with Dr Jing Sun, a public health researcher from Griffith University in Queensland. She explained that meditative acts, such as sorting and wrapping things as part of an art-making process, can improve our sense of wellbeing. Her research has explored the way that many kinds of activities, from dancing and singing to Tai Chi, can even provide health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, decreasing medication needs and substance use, and even lessening depressive symptoms. 

Art Magic is gentle and fun. You can take as little time or as long as you like. The next step is to come as you are and share a little bit of yourself, create artworks that allow you to unpack your thoughts and feelings and put them in a safe place where the different colours, sounds, movements, textures and even scents can make a positive impact on how you feel. You can create your own Art Magic, that dances with you.

I hope that you will be able to join us for creative collaboration at Art Magic workshops. Please join me at Art Geo, Thursday through Monday from 11am – 4pm. I am also available to visit schools and local organisations on request. Please remember that community members are also welcome to take a suitcase home with them to work on the project in the comfort of their own space, and bring it back to ArtGeo by 11th November so we can incorporate your work into the collaborative community sculpture. Also there is an opportunity to be involved with creating digital portraits! If you have any questions or would like to chat, please feel free to contact me!

I look forward to working with you over the coming weeks!



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